"Toraigh or Tory Island" Tory Island by RainforestWalker

Tory Island Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 19 photos

Toraigh Location

Toraigh, or Tory Island, nine miles north of the coast of Donegal, is by common consent "the most isolated, the most desolate, the most windswept of any of the Irish islands". It is an island drenched by the sea, drenched by the elements, and drenched with history and folklore.

Some History about my island

According to some scholars Oilean Toraigh means island of the outlaws or pirates, perhaps a reference to the mythical tale that it was inhabited by the sea-faring Fomorians. Their king was Balor of the Evil Eye, also known as Balor of the Mighty Blows. Balor’s one eye had to be kept covered most of the time, such was its force for destruction. He was eventually killed by his grandson Lugh, who represents goodness and light in Irish mythology, in direct contrast to dark, malign Balor.

In the sixth century Colm Cille came to Tory to convert the islanders, and while not sweeping away all that went before, left a legacy stronger than anyone who visited the island before or since. He came to the island following a vision that told him to build a monastery there. According to one legend his journey to Tory was made easy when "God opened the waters of Tory Sound for him and he walked across to the island". Tory folklore has a different version: Colm Cille along with Finian and Beaglaoch stood on top of Cnoc na Naomh (hill of saints) in Magheraroarty and tossed their croziers into the sea to decide which of them would convert the island. Colm Cille’s crozier not alone went farthest, but reaching the island made a small crater on the north east cliffs.

In recent years

More recently Tory has been associated with another remarkable man, the painter Derek Hill (1916-2000), whose encouragement of the local men who watched him paint on his trips to Tory led to the creation of the Tory school of painters, a tradition continued today by people like Patsy Dan Rodgers, the ‘King of Tory’, Anton Meenan, and Michael Finbarr Rodgers.

  • Last visit to Tory Island: Mar 2006
  • Intro Written Mar 13, 2006
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Comments (1)

  • orlikins's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2006 at 1:56 PM

    can you please please add some practical travel tips about the island, it is so hard to find accomodation etc info about the island! :) we'll be there in July, really looking forward to it,

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